Killing Bono

Film, Drama
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Killing Bono
It’s a time-honoured scenario. Teenage boys with guitars rehearsing in the garage. Hand-printed flyers and first gigs in the school gym. Back in late 1970s Dublin, Neil McCormick dreamed of stadium stardom like all the rest, but, gallingly, it was the other band in the same year who actually made it big. Seriously big. As this adaptation of his subsequent memoir makes clear, McCormick, now a music critic for The Telegraph, needed no other encouragement to try and forge his own path to fame, but it’s tough being the next big thing when you once trod the same secondary-modern corridors as U2.

It’s a great story, that’s for sure, blending vaunting ambition, a mangled ego and the obvious comedy potential of the ’80s music scene’s lowest rungs. Whether it works in feature-film form is another matter, since seasoned scribes Dick Clement and Iain LaFrenais evidently had problems here. Ben Barnes is an innately likeable presence in the central role, yet given the character’s propensity to behave like an absolute arse, this can’t mask the difficulty Nick Hamm’s film has in keeping the audience on board for almost two hours. The ministrations of Stanley Townsend’s caricature Dublin gangster evidently look to curry favour for the errant protagonist, only to prove a tiresome subplot, while Martin McCann’s Bono-alike turns out a dismayingly decent chap. Still, the underlying pull of McCormick’s fervently mixed-up emotions, and indeed his ever-readiness with a smart quip, help stabilise the often ungainly storytelling, and, ultimately, there’s something cheering and very human about a hero’s journey  towards the recognition of his myriad flaws.

By: Trevor Johnston

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Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday April 1 2011
Duration: 114 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Nick Hamm
Cast: Ben Barnes
Robert Sheehan
Krysten Ritter
Pete Postlethwaite
Peter Peter

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

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Killing Bono is an enjoyable Trainspotting jumping around type tale that focuses on the comparative failure of Neil McCormick's music career. It raises some serious questions, like can we ever be truly grateful for the success of our friends or compatriots? Even people that are saying all the right things, have to have a lingering why wasn't it me? Especially when you're doing the exact same thing like McCormick in the film. Check out my review of Killing Bono and my delve into this question at....... http://www.gosellcrazy.com/2013/07/killing-bono-enjoyable-tale-comparative-ineptitude/


Ben barnes play a optimestic role in it the film is just because of him.


A tad overlong but a funny twist on the standard rock biopic. Enjoyed the hideous eighties fashion and Ben Barnes and Robert Sheehan make believable and likeable brothers. 


Trevor, this sentence is like a car-crash. "The ministrations of Stanley Townsend’s caricature Dublin gangster evidently look to curry favour for the errant protagonist, only to prove a tiresome subplot, while Martin McCann’s Bono-alike turns out a dismayingly decent chap."